On a recent visit to The Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute (URVI) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Entebbe, UK Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin announced that the UK will support Uganda’s National Task Force with up to £5.1 million ($6.6 million USD) to support Ebola preparedness and prevention efforts in Uganda.
This funding will support surveillance in high-risk districts at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); risk reduction communication in communities; infection prevention and control measures as well as provide for improved case management.
A significant proportion of the funding will also provide core relief items (basic household necessities) to allow newly arrived refugees to leave overcrowded and high-risk transit and reception centers, therefore reducing further the risk of spread of Ebola.
Following the signing of strategic transfer agreements between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Medical Research Council UK (MRC UK), the MRC/UVRI formerly joined LSHTM on 1 February 2018. The exciting new partnership will boost research capacity into current and emerging health issues in Africa and throughout the world.
The UK government and World Health Organisation (WHO) judge Uganda’s current preparedness efforts to be strong. There have been five outbreaks of Ebola in Uganda since 2000 and the country is familiar with managing outbreaks of the disease. However, the risk of the disease spreading beyond the border from DRC is high and the funding will support timely interventions to strengthen screening at points of entry including the Entebbe international airport.